We are controlled by the way we feel far more than the way we think. It is the feelings of fear that underlie our thoughts and anxieties that hold us back from the full creative expression of life.
What we call success is much more about facing your fears and learning from your failures than following your dreams. The resistance of your fears is much stronger than your desire to change. Change is dangerous because it involves moving from the comfort and security of the known to the risk and mystery of the unknown.
At the same time, change is inevitable and the pace of change is accelerating faster than ever before. The biggest threat to survival today is not avoiding predators and other threats in the jungle but the lack of creativity and lost human potential that results when we live in anxiety and fear.
If you are fortunate enough live in a developed country, you enjoy a standard of safety, comfort and privilege that is unheard of in human history. We rarely face anything real to actually be afraid of. Instead, what often preoccupies our minds is anxiety, which focuses on vague possibilities in an unknown future. Not a real and present threat. Anxiety is fear of fear and it doesn’t protect us from danger but from doing great things with our lives.
The best method to diminish anxiety is to face it directly without judgment or reaction. What we resist persists. Anxiety only has the power that we feed it. The way to transcend anxiety is through observing and releasing it through meditation and cultivating the clear perception of an open mind that is unhindered by irrational fear and distracting anxiety.
When you sit in meditation and bring non-judgmental awareness to your fears, you will start to realize they are actually feelings imprinted on your body. When you can feel the fear or trauma directly without judgement or resistance, you will begin to let go of it.
The biggest mistake we make is thinking that we can think and will our way out of our deepest fears and anxiety. This merely reinforces and feeds the cycle of anxiety. When you simply observe and feel your fears in your body then your mind will start to free itself naturally.
[The photo at the top was remixed from Hasibul Haque Sakib’s photo of a young boy watching the sunset on a beach in Bangladesh]